2000 AAPA Convention:

AAPA Comes to California

by David M. Tribby

The year 2000 convention, held at the Executive Inn in Hayward, California, during June 16-18, attracted over fifty participants from across the United States. Convention Chairman Barry Schrader put together a full program that also left plenty of time for catching up with old friends.

Dinner for early arrivers was held at Abacus Chinese Restaurant across the street from the hotel. (Unfortunately, Charlie Bush, a mainstay of AAPA conventions for a quarter century and originator of the Chinese dinner tradition, had to cancel his convention plans at the last minute due to a family emergency.) After dinner, delegates returned to the hotel and socialized into the evening.

Chairman Schrader got the official program underway at 8:45 Friday morning as he welcomed everyone and asked members to introduce themselves. He pointed out that all first-time convention attendees had multi-colored ribbons attached to their badges, and asked that they be extended a particularly warm welcome.

As the ranking officer in attendance, Second Vice President Len Carrick led off the Officers' Reports segment. In addition to his own, Len read reports from President Jack Swenson and Manuscript Manager Joe Gardner. Secretary-Treasurer Ken Rystrom noted AAPA's bank balance dropped by $800 between May 1, 1999, and April 30, 2000. The size of the deficit would have been much larger if there hadn't been a sizable amount ($800) raised at the convention auction plus a number of additional contributions. Official Editor Marge Petrone thanked previous Editor Mike O'Connor for continuing on as American Amateur Journalist printer, and said he was her co-pilot. Mike himself gave a brief report for the Board of Directors, which he chairs. Telecommunications Director Dave Tribby reported AAPA's Web page has been averaging over 20 ``hits'' per day over the last year.

Ted Conover, Mike O'Connor, and Linda Donaldson joined a panel on Publishing Tools moderated by Dave Tribby. All are long-time letterpress printers who also use computers to produce their amateur journals. They described the variety of software used, and some of the pitfalls. A lively discussion followed.

The final speaker of the morning was Floyd Oydegaard, also known as ``Black Bart,'' who runs a printing museum and book store at the California State Park in Columbia.

Following lunch, the museum theme continued as Mark Barbour described his work as curator of the International Printing Museum located in the Los Angeles area. He reviewed recent changes in the museum, and the growth of its outreach program that visits about 130 schools per year. At the conclusion of Mark's remarks, Helen Wesson and Lee Hawes presented him with the latest Sheldon C. and Helen Wesson Award for the Preservation of Letterpress Printing.

The afternoon session concluded with a discussion led by Dean Rea and Lee Hawes on the subject ``AAPA in the 21st Century.'' If the current organization were disbanded and needed to reinvent itself, what would it be like? Answers included personal expression (using whatever media is available), letterpress preservation, and publication of papers. There seemed to be agreement that whatever activities the organization promotes, it needs to be fun and have a minimum of bureaucracy.

Delegates were on their own for dinner, but returned to the meeting room at 7:30 for a demonstration of printing on an authentic reproduction of a Ben Franklin wooden press by Gordon ``Sully'' Sullivan.

Saturday morning brought one of the annual highlights -- the auction of (mostly) printing-related items. Sky Shipley and his wife Johanna were able to make last-minute arrangements to fly in and did an excellent job of efficiently moving a large amount of merchandise at a good price. Sky's auctioneer patter kept everyone entertained, and Johanna ensured that each lot was delivered to the winning bidder. When the dust cleared, nearly $1600 had been raised.

The auction was suspended briefly after Fred Williams entered. The shy publisher was recognized for 100 issues of Type & Press published over 25 years.

By 12:30, Chairman Schrader had all the printers on the official convention bus for a trip across the Bay to San Francisco to tour Arion Press and M&H Type. About forty members and friends spent 90 minutes learning the details of casting type and producing world-class books. Barry had the bus stop at Treasure Island on the way back so everyone could enjoy the magnificent view of The City.

At 4:30 everyone was back on the bus for a trip to Livermore to visit the Concannon Vineyard and on to the Holiday Inn for the annual Banquet. As the immediate Past President, Dean Rea announced Giselle Ladouceur-Borowicz won this year's Past Presidents' Award for a New Paper for What*ever*!, which appeared in the September bundle. Dean is also Chairman of the Laureate Board and announced the 1999-2000 winners. The final award of the evening was a special Lifetime Achievement Award presented by Lee Hawes to Ralph Babcock.

As usual, the final official event of the convention was the Sunday afternoon picnic, held a short distance from the hotel. Since June 18 is his birthday, everyone joined in singing ``Happy Birthday'' to Lee Hawes and helped him eat his birthday cake. After the picnic, about 20 delegates ventured south to Sunnyvale for an inspection of Dave Tribby's new 1906 Golding Jobber printing press. (Six made a stop-off on the way at Jim Heagy's printing equipment warehouse in San Francisco.)

Many delegates remarked on how well planned and organized the convention was. It was informative, thought-provoking and entertaining mainly due to the hard work of Barry Schrader and the members who agreed to help when called on.

Greg McKelvey took electronic pictures during the convention. 34 of the photos are available for viewing.

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